When I think of teaching the technical skills of alignment in yoga, I like to remember this quote from Suzuki Roshi, who once said to his students:

“Each of you is perfect as you are…and you could use a little improvement.”

It’s not one or the other – either perfect or imperfect. We are perfectly where we are in this moment, and we are in the process of developing.

Yoga is a practice of self-discovery, not a performance. Meet yourself where you are right now.

Do your best to embody safe alignment in your pose, but don’t worry about perfection. Don’t worry about how it looks, but deeply sense how it feels. And remember that it will be different tomorrow. Maybe the difference will be subtle, but change is constant.

The “improvement” part comes naturally and gradually over time, as we bring fresh attention to our poses, over and over again.

Addie deHilster, E-RYT 500, is an experienced yoga teacher and Co-Owner of Spiral Path Yoga Center. She teaches several yoga and meditation classes a week here, and leads the studio’s Teacher Training and Certification program, as well as Yin Yoga Teacher Trainings.